Love it or loathe it, being online is a part of most people’s lives, and this includes our children. Unfortunately, as this whole new virtual world opens up, so do many new and concerning dangers. Indeed, as the terrain of the virtual world is so different from the real world, we must educate our kids to be able to stay online. A topic you can get some important advice on in the post below.
Use parental controls
A shockingly high number of parents do not understand how to use parental controls to their advantage and to keep their child safe. The thing is that nearly all devices have parental controls integrated within them, and when used correctly they can provide greater peace of mind, and help to maximize your child’s safety online.
Use the ‘stranger test’ for sharing
The ability to easily share information, opinions, and pictures is one of the things that makes the internet so popular. However, kids don’t always understand the lasting and potentially dangerous consequences of sharing the wrong things online.
For example, it can be very dangerous to share information about their location or where they will be in the future at a specific time. With that in mind, getting your kids to use the ‘stranger test’ can be very useful here. That is, if the information isn’t something they would feel 100% comfortable giving to a total stranger on the street, then they shouldn’t share it online without checking with their parents first.
Educate them on how to use social networks properly
When our kids are little we expect to have to teach them how to behave in real-life social situations. In fact, you may find yourself educating your child on how to talk politely to others, and what to do if someone is behaving poorly towards them.
Of course, when it comes to how to act online, and in particular while using social media the same needs to be true. In fact, kids need to be taught how to properly use the platforms they are signed up to, including ensuring they have control over privacy and what they share ( in line with your family’s rules on the subject). They also need to know how to block people, report posts, and what info should be kept private.
Finally, remember that, as well as educating our kids on how to use social media in the right way, we also still have a responsibility as parents. Indeed, being able to access our child’s social media and devices, as well as monitor who they are friends with and interacting with online is a vital aspect of making sure they stay safe.
Keep screens in view
One of the best ways to keep your child safe online is to ensure they only get to use their devices in the more public areas of the home. This is something that can help to remind them to monitor their own behavior and make it easier for parents to see what their kids are doing online.
Unfortunately, this approach works best with younger children and those that don’t have access to personal devices that they can use whenever and wherever they want. Once this is the case then additional safety precautions need to be taken to ensure your child’s safety. One of these may be to install a family-wide protection system on all devices that reports back on usage and even allows parents to access emails and the like. Of course, in addition to this, it is also crucial that other methods, such as the ones below are mentioned.
Have regular open conversations about internet use
One of the best ways to keep your child safe online is to communicate regularly about what they are doing and viewing in the virtual world. Where possible starting this from an early age can set a valuable precedent that will make things easier as they get older.
Such a conversation should include the sites they are currently visiting, something you can review together. Of course here is where you will need to set boundaries specific to your own, personal household. After all, not every parent will have the same opinion here.
You can expect a little push back here as well, especially if your child’s friends are allowed to do things they are not. For example, some parents allow their children to join social media sites before they have reached the minimum age requirement. If faced with this situation, discussing the reasons for this age requirement, and the boundaries your family has in place are an important part of the conversation here.
In fact, if this is something that you have already laid the groundwork for, your child will know what to expect and is much less likely to strongly push against the rules you have put in place.